How to lace your running shoes

Most running shoes have two plastic eyelets close to the top of your foot, where the laces are tied. Why are these eyelets shaped differently than the other ones?

Running shoes are laced differently from dress shoes. Dress shoes are laced in a criss cross manner all the way to the top, and then tied.

Running shoes use criss cross lacing up to the last two eyelets closest to the top of the foot. The lace from the second last eyelet comes up from the bottom, then arches up and goes down through the top eyelet on the same side. The lace then crosses to the other side and through the other side's loop. It is then brought to the center for tying.

If you've done this right, you should have the lace pulling against the loop of lace which in turn pulls on two eyelets, not just one. This load sharing is very important, because it distributes the load across the top of your foot. This becomes noticeable on long runs, when you want to have as much load distribution on the tops and bottoms of your feet as possible.

That's why the top two eyelets are designed differently. The running shoes I'm most familiar with -- Saucony and New Balance training shoes -- have the top two eyelets made from a single piece of plastic for structural strength.

The running experience is much more comfortable with properly laced shoes. Once you've laced your running shoes like this, it will be almost impossible to lace your other athletic shoes any differently.

LaggedyAnne /msgd me: "I do this with all my shoes. It's delicious."


The best way to lace your running shoes depends on what kind of a foot you have. This may seem counter intuitive but people with narrow or wide feet may benefit from having two sets of shorter laces instead of one longer set. People with narrow feet can lace their shoe normally up to the middle of the shoe then finish by tying their laces with the runner's tie described in the preceding writeup. Repeating this with the second set of laces will bring the sides of each shoe closer together making shoes more secure. This lacing pattern will help prevent excess lateral movement inside a shoe thereby improving comfort and possibly preventing injury.

If your foot is wide you can use two sets of laces to open up the sides of your shoes. This will create room for your foot causing less discomfort when you run. People with combination feet, a broad forefoot and narrow heel, can benefit from channeling their laces up the sides of the front of the shoe and criss crossing the laces as they near the top of their shoes. Opening up the front of the shoe can also help people with hammer toes or people whose toes have turned black. If black toes are your problem make sure there is enough room for your toes at the front and top of the shoe. Typically black toes are the result of digits. repeatedly. striking. shoes.

People blessed with a voluptuous foot may want to channel their laces up the middle of their shoes instead of criss crossing them. This lacing pattern accommodates an atypical instep by giving people with high volume feet room where they need it most. Using the runner's lace to tie your shoes will give you more lateral stability in a shoe. Running shoes are designed specifically for forward motion while cross trainers have extra lateral stability built into the shoe. When you are tying your laces make sure you are not tying them too tight. Excessively tight laces can compress nerves in your foot so if any part of your foot goes numb while wearing a particular shoe try loosening the laces or using a different lacing pattern.

While the preceding writeup describes the runner's tie it may be helpful to know that you can adapt the runner's lace if your shoes are missing that extra hole. Simply feed the end of your right/left lace through the underside of the opposite eyelet. Repeat with the other end of your lace, cross and tie as you normally would. Whenever you are running please double knot your laces and make sure to feed lace loops beneath your criss crossed laces. If your lace does come untied during a race this will prevent people from tripping on an exposed shoe string. Hopefully this has helped you determine which lacing pattern is best for your individual foot however if you have any comments or require additional information please feel free to message me.

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